Out of anguish of his soul he shall see light and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the numerous, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sins of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:11-12
I know usually the bible verses you see around Thanksgiving involve giving thanks, but as I sat thinking over giving thanks, I was met with the question, “What do we give thanks for?”
Most commonly, our responses are for things that we see in the temporal world around us, which is not bad at all and we should be thankful for those things, but how often do we stop and consider the most important thing we could ever give thanks for? Without Jesus as our salvation, would we love and be thankful for others around us? Without Jesus as our salvation, would life be as beautiful and sacred to us as it is? Without Jesus as our salvation, would there be meaning in life and a desire to live a holy and blameless life? The truth is, nothing in the world has true value to be thankful for without Jesus because apart from Jesus we cannot have love, truth, life, or hope.
For those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, the message of the cross and our salvation can sometimes seem to become so familiar that it can lose the awe-inspiring effect on us that it did when we first believed. Yet this is not due to salvation being any less amazing; it truly is the greatest gift to the poor, wretched mankind that we are, given from the creator of the universe. So why does the gospel sometimes seem to lose its wonder? It’s because we don’t soak it up repeatedly in order to be thankful for it as we should.
This prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah is one that helps us become more brutally aware and acknowledge the pain, suffering, anguish, and separation that Jesus went through in order that we can have the access to the Father, communion and unity with the Trinity, and the hope of glory to come. His gift of salvation to us was so extremely costly and He had to give up all of Himself in order to pay for it. We can never understand from experience just how heavy of a price that it. Even the most costly gift you’ve given has not come close to bankrupting you financially, and certainly not required your blood shed to give.
Yet Jesus died so willingly because you are His joy and reward that His sacrifice yielded.
When we come face to face with the sacrifice of Jesus, truly letting it sink in from our minds, deep down into our hearts time and time again, being broken by our sin; it is then that genuine thanksgiving to God will spring forth.
These times and seasons in life are hard on many. Physical, mental, emotional struggles that are so often way too much to bear on our own. Your flesh is weak and will inevitably fail, BUT GOD is with you! Just as Isaiah 53 makes mention that God would divide Jesus a portion with the many, Jesus is your portion.
In the early days of the Israelites, the tribes were apportioned lots of inheritance among the land God gave them, but the Levites (the lineage of priests to serve God in the tabernacle/temple) weren’t given a portion or land inheritance, they were given the LORD as their portion (Deuteronomy 10:9). It says in 1 Peter 3:9-10, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, for a people his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” We, as a royal priesthood, have been shown a great mercy in being given the LORD as our portion.
My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)
In addition to this beautiful portion you’ve been given in Jesus Himself, you also have Jesus praying for you always.
This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:22-25)
He knows your needs, can sympathize with them, and prays over you in intercession. That also is a daily and continuous gift to be thankful for!
This Thanksgiving, before you get up to make and serve portions of food, I pray you start your day, in remembrance of the ultimate gift of salvation, from which all other things to be thankful for stem from, and that you take time to tell God your heartfelt thanks for the beautiful portion you have in Him.